San Francisco kicks off holiday shopping season in Union Square

With the lighting of the tree in Union Square San Francisco has kicked off the start of the holiday shopping season. The holiday spirit is in full swing in San Francisco's Union Square.

The tree is lit, the ice rink is full of skaters and retailers are hoping that people will fill the shops. Inside Gump's shoppers say they're already in the holiday spirit. "I'm in the mood," said shopper Lisa Martino. "I'm ready for Christmas to be back, I'm ready for people to be back. You know, it's nice to see people on the streets. It's nice to see people in the stores. You know, I think it's great for our economy. I think it's great for our spirits. I think we need it."

Marc Capalbo from Gump's says so far he's seeing more shoppers than this time last year, and that he hopes it bodes well for the holiday season. "Yes, there's definitely some pent-up demand. Some excitement for people to get into the holiday spirit early and come out of the pandemic and really celebrate this holiday season," said Capalbo.

The Union Square Alliance says the holiday excitement is just beginning. "When the lights go on it means the holidays have begun in Union Square," said Marisa Rodriguez from the Union Square Alliance.

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Rodriguez says in a matter of weeks, Hallidie Plaza at the Powell Street BART Station will be transformed. The aim is to make the area a welcoming place for shoppers. "It's called Winter Wonderland it's going to take everyone up through Powell Street to make their way to the plaza and then from the plaza they can go shopping and do it again, said Rodriguez. "So, a lot of cheer."

Organizers say they're optimistic that shoppers will want to return to the pre-pandemic rituals of shopping together to welcome the holiday season.